Light of the Bhagavata
Of all Srila Prabhupada's writings, this work is perhaps unique. It was written in Vrndavana, India in 1961 in response to an invitation to attend a world conference, the Congress for Cultivating the Human Spirit, held in Japan. As most of the participants of the conference were from the Orient, Srila Prabhupada considered deeply how he could best present the timeless teachings of Srimad-Bhagavatam to the conference. The Bhagavatam is an extremely large book composed of eighteen thousand verses. Participants of the conference would not have the time to hear it all. He therefore chose one chapter for his presentation.
The chapter he selected was a description of the autumn season in Vrndavana, the place of Lord Krishna's appearance. This chapter presents spiritual philosophy by examples from nature. For each seasonal phenomenon, a parallel teaching is given.
Srila Prabhupada's plan was that the organizers of the conference should find a qualified Oriental artist to illustrate each verse, and he wrote directions from which the artist could design each painting. He had hoped that the paintings and their accompanying explanations would make an impressive display for visitors to the conference.
Due to unfortunate circumstances Srila Prabhupada was unable to attend the conference, and the whole project of Light of the Bhagavata was postponed. The task of completing this great project was left in the hands of the Hong Kong branch of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. After much searching they secured the help of the renowned artist Madame Li Yun Sheng, whose mature creative talent and sensitive brushwork alone could properly complement Prabhupada's beautiful descriptions of the autumn season. Undoubtedly, this collection of paintings presents the culmination of her long, distinguished career as one of the great artists of modern China. Her Gongbi style of painting together with Srila Prabhupada's poetic descriptions which appear alongside make for a unique blending of the world's two oldest cultural traditions--Indian and Chinese. Thus the beautifully effulgent Light of the Bhagavata may now shine upon the world.
Chinese Gongbi Style Paintings by Madame Li Yun Sheng